Leiden hospital launches more comfortable alternative to mammogram
The Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) is introducing an alternative to the mammogram breast examination, which can be quite painful for some women, on a small scale. The new Mamma CT takes images of breast tissue in a much more comfortable way, the hospital said. This method may also yield better results in some women.
"The device looks like a large bed and contains an opening for the breast. So the woman can simply lie on her stomach, and the images are taken within twelve seconds, without compression of the breast," said radiologist Martin Wasser.
In mammography, the breast is placed between two supporting plates and is more or less compressed by those plates to take the picture. Some women experience this as so painful that they avoid the examination, said radiologist Nora Voormolen. According to her, the LUMC is the first in the Netherlands to use the new method after it became aware of it in Germany. Radiologists are currently investigating for which women and for which research questions the Mamma CT is most suitable.
Mammogram images sometimes do not clearly reveal abnormalities in women with a lot of and dense breast tissue. They now have to have an MRI scan, which is also experienced as unpleasant and takes a long time. "Because Mamma CT can make detailed 3D images, we can hopefully save these women a time-consuming scan. However, just as with MRI, contrast medium must sometimes be administered before the CT," said Voormolen.
The new method can also reveal pre-stages of tumors - microcalcifications - and also improves research in women with breast prostheses, according to LUMC.
Reporting by ANP